The Parent Teacher Association at Elmhurst is made up of the Chair (Addeel Khan), Deputy-Chair (Sania Ali), a secretary position that is shared out amongst members and a group of Elmhurst parents. The PTA is overseen by Ms Shaw, the Pupil and Parent Voice Coordinator as well as Ms Turner (Assistant Head) and Ms Samra (Headteacher). This year the PTA remains running and is an integral part of the school community. They meet once a month via zoom. New members are always encouraged and welcome to attend meetings. Now, more than ever, it is vital that the communication between parents and the school is strong. The PTA have met and decided on three key priorities for the year:
- Fundraising for Elmhurst families needing financial support
- Communicating with parents to ease anxieties and give reassurance
- Supporting withand promoting parent training
Please see below, the minutes from our recent and past meetings.
PTA Meeting January 29th 2021
- Welcome from Ms Samra. Ms Samra outlined that as a school we understand that home learning is not the same as coming into school and we are aware of the challenges that exist at home. Ms Samra applauded parents for juggling it all.
- Government will give two weeks' notice to return to schools so we will have some time to prepare and notify parents.
- Question asked about how teachers are managing the workload/home learning, particularly for those with their own children. Ms Samra is looking at ways to help with the teacher workload, including specialist teachers taking classes, for example Mr. Mutter teaching art lessons.
- Ms Samra has been concerned for some time about the traffic on Upton Park Rd - too many cars speeding, two accidents already, children not looking as they cross, no zebra crossing etc. Ms Samra suggested the PTA start a campaign and get a petition going to get signatures to the council for them to take note as so far they haven’t responded to requests from Ms Samra and Mr Ahmed. Support was given from the PTA. Concern raised from parents about cars going the wrong way down one way streets. It was noted that it is important to get the whole community involved in this campaign.
- Addeel to draft a letter to put to the council. Online petition to be created and sent out to parents. Miss Shaw and Addeel to liaise to create the petition.
- Curriculum workshops being planned to support parents at home. Ms Samra has recommended phonics and love of reading but appealed for suggestions - handwriting/letter join were suggested.
- Point raised that the number of devices needed for large families makes it difficult for all children to access online learning. A suggestion was made for there to be weekly curriculum packs. However, it was noted that the priority was to get children attending the online lessons and these packs would add to teachers workload and not be current as they are adapting lessons as they go. It was also noted that this would be a big admin task and we are trying to limit people coming onto site. Ms Samra outlined that for individual cases we are giving spaces in school to children but this is on a case by case basis, after speaking to specific families. The school will have given out roughly 100 chrome books and are awaiting more. We are also awaiting a delivery for internet dongles to be given out to specific families.
- Suggestion made to send out a survey to parents on how families are coping with remote learning. This will help the school to know how best to continue to support parents.
- Suggestion to send a list of what will be covered each week in the live lessons at the start of the week, so that parents can prepare if they do not have as much access to online platforms.
- Suggestion from parents to have some zoom free time as children are spending a long time on screen between school and mosque zoom lessons.
- Mr. Ben’s live lessons are going really well and having a great turnout.
- Concern for parents with multiple children when Reception moves to three lessons a day.
- Feedback on supporting vulnerable families and how best to use the money raised from Christmas party bags and the raffle:
- A little over £1,800 was raised and will be used to support vulnerable families who have been identified by the leadership team or have come forward for support. Food vouchers will be given to these families.
- It was agreed that one voucher would be given (roughly £80), instead of a smaller amount given each week over the space of four weeks.
- Some parents were unaware that there are vulnerable families who are receiving no Government support whatsoever, therefore it was decided that they should receive a slightly larger amount (i.e. £100).
- The school would like to continue to support these families and will be setting up a ‘Just Giving’ page. This will allow children, families and the wider school community to come up with creative ways to raise money. When we are back in school we can think about holding a whole school event.
- For SEN provision in school, the school looks at the staffing rota and best interests of the child when deciding the hours spent in school. It can be very dysregulating for these children to be with different adults everyday and in different classrooms. It is organised on a case by case basis in line with the school’s risk assessment.
- Suggestion from a parent for the school to send out an email to let parents know that resources are available to parents who need them i.e. pens, pencils, copybooks etc.
If there are any families struggling financially, please do come forward and speak to any of the following:
- A member of the leadership team - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Addeel Khan, PTA Chair - email@example.com
- Miss Z Shaw, Pupil and Parent Voice Coordinator - firstname.lastname@example.org
We want to ensure that we can support parents as much as possible through this difficult time.
PTA Meeting Minutes, December 11th 2020
Update from Ms Turner:
- Pleased the risk assessment is being followed well by parents, children and staff. She reminded the parents to continue to follow the risk assessment and wear masks when picking up and dropping off children.
- New build to be finished in January. This will bring some much needed space as COVID measures have meant we have struggled for group rooms. It will also provide us with an additional hall space.
- The office has food vouchers which will be given out to our vulnerable families before the holidays.They will also be made aware of the money raised from the party bags and raffle, this will be available to parents who are in need of financial support, be it for rent, food, bills etc. This money will most likely be distributed in January which may be an even more important time to support.
Updates from Addel khan (PTA Chair) -
Feedback was given from our last discussion about which charities to support and suggestions were given from parents:
- Magpie project
- Mind mental health charity
- PTA charity - could be a quicker way to distribute funds. Would need to find out from parents what specifically they are struggling with, this could be in the form of a survey. Some research has shown rent and food are the overarching struggles across London. This could also include books, resources or ICT home learning resources. This would require a bit more work to get up and running which was pointed out as a concern from some parents. There would need to be responsibility, commitment and accountability from PTA members in order to maintain a PTA charity.
- Newham food bank
The PTA will look into these next term and discuss further.
Updates from Miss Shaw
- The School Council (SC) is finally at a place where meetings are going well and there is a good turnout of members attending. Ms Samra met with two of our Councillors and outlined that there have been some bullying issues over the past term. The SC will focus on anti-bullying next term and how we can address the issues in Elmhurst.
- A suggestion was made to have a survey sent out to children to address what the exact issues are between class members. This would give the SC better direction in planning their campaign.
- Litter around the local area - can we contact the local council to find out what they are doing? SC could write a letter to the local council. Junaid Ali (who works for local council) - pushing for free bulky waste and will update us further with any developments.
- Parents are still parking outside the school in prohibited areas. School has approached the council about parking.
- Ms Samra is waiting to hear back from the council about making Upton Park Rd one way. It was mentioned that we should contact James Asser (in charge of transportation for the council).
- Traffic warden - we used to have one, perhaps we could also suggest this to the local council.
- Staff to take note of parents parking on the zigzags - volunteer parents could do this. Please speak to the office if you are interested in volunteering to monitor drop offs and/pick ups.
- Food Alliance - PTA member Junaid Ali is working with local charity ‘Hope for Humanity’ and has donated 20 gift hampers for vulnerable families.
- If children are sitting next to open windows and are cold, parents to speak to class teachers who will make allowances for some children to wear extra clothing i.e. scarves.
- Gifted and talented - Addeel had a catch up with Ms Samra about the provision of resources for gifted and talented students. Currently there is a lack of resources as teachers are prioritising children who are struggling due to the school closure. In the future there might be scope to doing voluntary sessions from parents in different professions, sharing their skills.
- ‘Every child a musician’ project was stopped last year. Elmhurst has secured a music grant for instrumental lessons. Guitar and flute lessons for gifted and talented children who are interested in these lessons or show a particular musical talent.
- Food bank - Grocery Distribution at 368 Katherine Rd E7 8NW (HOPE FOR HUMANITY). Please feel free to forward the families/individuals in need of Support.
Many thanks to the Elmhurst school community for your continued support and communication. Wishing you a very happy holiday season.
PTA Meeting November 13th 2020.
- Ms Samra began the meeting by noting the good turnout and thanking parents for making the effort to take time out to attend the meeting via zoom.
- Ms Samra spoke about the school closure after half-term. She identified that the initial email to parents may have caused concern and understands the difficulty it put parents under, having to organise childcare, home learning and providing meals for those children. She explained that the decision was not taken lightly and was done in conjunction with Public Health Newham and the London Coronavirus Response Cell and was a necessary measure to stem further in school transmission
- Ms Samra talked about the relationship education meetings with parents that had taken place. There was some feedback taken on board from parents and the school will provide further clarification to parents on what will be taught. There will be parent training and sharing of content at a later point also.
- The PTA then looked at some of the charities that we have fundraised for in the past. Addeel (Chair) will do some analysis of what the priorities are in our local community and nationally so that we can support both. Parents are welcome to suggest charities that they know of, please send this information to either Miss Shaw - email@example.com or Addeel (PTA Chair) - firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Government has announced that it will be providing free school meals funding to families throughout the holidays. The school will be communicating with these families and decide the best way to support them with this funding - food boxes/vouchers. Further to this discussion the government is not funding this through schools but through the local councils.
- The Christmas Fair will be an online fair this year. There will be an online raffle and the draw will be live streamed to classes. It was suggested that the draw be filmed and sent to parents so they can watch later.
- It was identified that the biggest priority is to support vulnerable families in Elmhurst, particularly with the Christmas holidays coming up. With that in mind, the money raised from the Christmas Fair will be used to support these families.
- The home learning experience during the school closure was a learning curve and identified the need for resources for our most vulnerable families. These families have been identified. Families in need of support are also encouraged to speak to a member or the leadership team or the PTA if they need support. A suggestion was also to provide these families with books so the children have access to a range of texts at home.
- It was noted that parents want to ensure that children are being challenged at this time. Part of the focus for this year will be identifying and teaching to the gaps in learning that have formed as a result of the lockdown last year. However, challenge is always planned and provided for all learners throughout the curriculum.
- The question was asked if after school clubs could be run in an online capacity. It was noted that it has been a challenging time and safeguarding staff wellbeing and workload has been important. However, some suggestions of zoom clubs were noted. The leadership team will review this. The targeted reading club for support groups will be running from this half term keeping the integrity of the bubbles.
- Some online activities and competitions were shared and will be sent to subject coordinators to consider.
- Moving forward, the PTA would like to address educational aspects of the school as well as fundraising. The leadership team will look at how the PTA can best support education within the school. The PTA already has the very important role of ensuring good communication between parents and the school. One of the ways they will continue to support the school this year is through promoting parent workshops and training and supporting the school with their 5 Strategic Priorities as outlined in the first PTA meeting.
PTA Meeting Minutes - October 16th 2020
- Ms Silverwood (Deputy Head) welcomed the PTA back on behalf of the school. She thanked the PTA for their support and noted that it is a great forum for parents’ voices to be heard, something which the school welcomes and encourages.
- The PTA chair, Addeel, also welcomed the PTA back, thanking members for giving up their time to attend and all the work that was achieved last year.
- Ms Shaw shared the schools’ strategic priorities:
- Clarify curriculum content, design and sequencing
- Metacognition and Pupil Voice
- Equality and Diversity
- Ensure vulnerable pupils achieve successfully
- Extend pleasure and comprehension in reading and writing
- It was noted that the priorities were very current and somewhat progressive. PTA members agreed that they were all appropriate for the year ahead.
- Addeel shared the PTA priorities:
- Fundraising for Elmhurst families needing financial support
- Communicating with parents to ease anxieties and give reassurance
- Supporting with parent training (tbc)
- It was also noted that these priorities are in line with the current needs for our school community.
- Some parents felt that the letters going out when classes were self-isolating had caused concern and panic amongst parents. The school is obliged to inform those parents and will always be very explicit about who needs to isolate, only sending to the parents of that class. All other children should attend school. A general letter will go out to all parents to update them when this happens.
- Fundraising was discussed, including how we can come up with creative ways to hold fundraisers online. The School Council has already come up with some great ideas. Cake sales could include pre ordering which was identified as very helpful as it avoids waste and makes it clear for bakers exactly how many cakes to bake.
- A PTA meeting will be focusing on fundraising in the coming term.
- Addeel shared some key points from a previous meeting with Ms Samra. Some of the topics discussed included:
- Supporting our vulnerable families
- Low attendance in the first few weeks
- Sharing findings from the parent survey
- Clubs will be restricted this year and limited to the class bubble
- RSE workshops to take place next half-term to share the new PSHE scheme ‘Jigsaw’ with parents (dates tbc).
- A thank you was given to Saleha for raising money for Macmillan through a cake sale. Some parents were unaware of the bake sale. For other events we will think of the correct way to advertise the event. Use of Parentmail should be in line with the PTA priorities.
- Lunch time menus were discussed as the menu on the website needs to be updated. This is something the office is aware of and will be done after half-term.
- The staff list is also in need of an update which the office will be doing.
- Some children have expressed an interest in taking turns to go to the hall for lunch. The school has put a lot of work into working out the details and logistics of the current lunch setup. However we will be swapping the year groups in the hall with the year groups in the classrooms each half term for fairness.
- Discussed the benefits of the one way drop off and pick up system. However, any parents with medical conditions that affect their ability to walk their children to school should speak to their child’s class teacher for support.
- Parents in the KS2 playground have observed that there is some congestion at the gate at home time as parents are waiting outside and waving to their children to come to them. This causes unnecessary congestion, please come through the correct gates to collect your child. This will be monitored.
We would like to welcome all parents to the next PTA meeting which will be held via zoom on Friday November 13th at 9:30am. The zoom link will be sent out closer to the time.div>